Story by Laura Tester
Special anniversaries for two Alberta couples — two special gifts for A Better World Canada.
Don and Phyllis Corkum of Calgary and Lacombe’s Marlene and Elmer Littman decided they wanted to celebrate their milestone wedding anniversaries by giving to A Better World. With the help of friends and family, they raised thousands of dollars for projects in Kenya.
The Littmans, who celebrated their 60th anniversary on Aug. 23, and the Corkums, who celebrated their 50th anniversary on Aug.15, were keen to fundraise for the Central Alberta-based international development organization.
Elmer, a retired pastor, was the treasurer for A Better World for 16 years while Marlene has contributed through many fundraising events.
Don Corkum, 71, pastored for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and was an administrator in the Conference office, for a total of 44 years. He and Phyllis have financially supported A Better World projects, including school construction in Afghanistan.
While anniversary parties were being planned, both couples had A Better World in mind.
The Littman Water Kiosk and Corkum Well projects were created — the former will supply water to 3,000 people in the Sopa village of the Masai Mara while the latter will give water to more than 6,000 people in the village of Jerusalem within North Central Kenya. Both projects are underway.
Eric Rajah, co-founder of A Better World Canada, said that sponsors of such legacy gifts can choose which projects they’d like to be a part of.
“They can within the goals of A Better World and in the existing communities (where the projects are located),” he said.
And while people will find their 60 years of marriage inspiring, the Littmans didn’t want to make it about themselves with lots of gifts. During their 50th anniversary, they fundraised for A Better World, too.
The Corkums also wanted to show family and friends the importance of A Better World’s work.
“And I believe very strongly, what we receive is a blessing,” said Don. “We are stewards, not owners of the resources that God gives us.”
The Corkums have three children and four grandchildren.
Phyllis added, “So often in an anniversary or celebration like that, people expect to bring gifts. We preferred to have people give if they wanted — to a place where our heart is at this time.”
Leaving a lasting legacy means a lot, too.
“This is an important mission to help those so they can live life in a better way,” said Don.
Marlene and Elmer, both in their 80s, will likely never go to Kenya due to health issues. Like the Corkums, they believe wholeheartedly in what A Better World is doing in Kenya through partnership and sustainability among the locals. The Littmans have four children, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
As the Littmans’ daughter Raelene Taliaferro says, her parents like that A Better World sponsorship dollars directly fund the project.
“It’s people helping people,” said Marlene, a retired school teacher. “There’s so much pleasure in giving and as the Bible says, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Rajah is pleased the couples chose to help in this way, saying they are examples to others on how they can make a difference.
“They have both dedicated their lives to serving others and have been great supporters of A Better World,” he added.
Anyone wishing to leave a similar legacy can contact A Better World at www.abwcanada.ca or call 403-782-0325.